Monday, March 17, 2008

Entry: Medical Scene #1

Our first entry submitted her scene and a question:

Hi C.J.,

Thanks so much for the generous offer! I'm stumbling here, probably because I've never seen a gunshot wound, or the damage it can do. My hero has been shot from several feet away. Of course, he mustn't die, but I don't know what part of anatomy specifically could be shot at close range and the victim survive.

Can you recommend a few good websites for medical injuries?

Thanks again for all your help!
Tereasa Bellew

Here's my scene:

Several hours passed before the doctor finally entered the waiting room. "Mrs. Harrington?" he asked. A sterile mask hung down around his neck, and she noticed his long, tapered fingers. Steady, capable hands reached inside his surgical pocket, and she couldn’t help but think how neatly manicured his nails were.

She shook her head, wondering why the strangest things stand out during stress. "No, um...I'm not his wife, just a friend... we're just good friends."

"Well, you can count your blessings,” the doctor said, holding up a shell casing. “Mr. Harrington’s a lucky guy. There wasn’t a lot of tissue damage with this single caliber. He should make a full recovery.”

Linda breathed a sigh of relief, thankful for those reassuring words. “That’s wonderful.”

The doctor sat in the chair beside her. "He's lost a lot of blood, which required additional blood to be given. I understand you helped slow the bleeding by compressing the wound.”

She nodded, unable to speak as she recalled the bloodied bathrobe she’d held in place as she knelt beside him.

“You saved his life. We're taking him to ICU and as soon as the staff has him resting comfortably, you can see him. But only for a few minutes. He'll probably be groggy. I'm not sure he'll even know you're there."

She wiped away fresh tears and then her nose, which was fast becoming sore. "Thank you Doctor, yes...I need to see him, even if it's just for a minute."


CJ Lyons said...


Love the way she notices small details!

Try this link for basic GSW first aid:

A doctor wouldn't be discussing the caliber of the bullet (and there isn't such a thing as a single caliber, caliber is based on the diameter of the bullet in either english or metric).

You might want to check on the locale where you're setting the book to see if they allow non-family visitors in the ICU--some hospitals are more picky than others.

Hard to tell if the rest works without knowing where the patient is shot and how long you want him incapacitated for--in your fictional world, you get to play god, so if you want him out of commission for a long time, give him a more severe injury.

Hope this helps!

CJ Lyons said...

Tracy, thought of something else as well--the doctor wouldn't have the shell casing. It would be ejected by a semi-automatic pistol when fired and be left at the scene.


Tracy Ruckman said...

From Tereasa:

Hi CJ,
Thank you so much for the link information. I plan to check it out tonight. You're right, I do need to figure out where the gunshot wound is located. Probably near his shoulder. The hospital is a small one, like the one in our town. Since she was with him during the shooting, I feel confident they'd allow her to see him for a few minutes. He's a stranger in town and doesn't have anyone else nearby. And she's friends with the cop who arrived on the scene and later at the hospital.

Thanks so much for doing this! You've been a great help.

CJ Lyons said...

One thing to consider is that a small hospital usually isn't a trauma center and would transfer him to a regional trauma center.

Also shoulder wounds aren't as easy to treat as they seem on TV.

Have fun with it!